Annan praises Congolese conduct of constitutional referendum

23 December 2005

Echoing yesterday’s acclamation from the United Nations Security Council, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today congratulated the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the successful conduct of their constitutional referendum on 18 and 19 December, despite the tremendous challenges they faced.

“The relatively high voter turn-out and the fact that the polling was conducted in a largely free, fair and peaceful manner attests to the determination of the Congolese people to participate in deciding their nation’s future,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement read out at the daily briefing.

“The United Nations remains committed to supporting the people of the DRC in this historic process,” he added.

The statement also paid tribute to the Independent Electoral Commission, which met the challenge of the referendum with logistical support from the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the help of the international community.

The vote, which paves the way for the country’s first democratic elections next year, was the first democratic ballot held in the DRC since 1965 and one of the biggest polls - with 36,000 vote offices, nearly 200,000 electoral agents and 25 million voters - in which the UN has participated.


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